The BOOKS of KNOWLEDGE, The LEGEND of ALM an e-book published and written by Graham M. Irwin.
Plot: Basically difficult to describe. Having lost his mother and with his brother gone, a teen age boy decides to travel to another area (country, town?) in the Land of Alm to find his father who had departed to earn more money. His present residence appears to be quite primitive, filled with unusual named beasts and hunting a way of life. The journey begins and he encounters a huge type of extremely viscous and dangerous wolf whom he manages to turn into a faithful travelling companion. The trip becomes greatly extended when his first stop is in a somewhat more advanced settlement where he meets a charming young lady and her mother who make him want to linger. Suddenly however, the mother, who is part of a secret protective group for a legendary set of Books of Knowledge about the beginnings of their world, fears the volume that is in her custody will be taken from her. She consigns it to his care with instructions to deliver it to a specific person in another part of the realm. He makes the delivery successfully, but faces more changes in his itinerary when he becomes responsible for the entire set of books, finds that the young lady whom he met earlier also has become part of the secret protectorate. The extensive ensuing trips are fraught with danger and lead to increasingly more advanced civilizations in cities with more sophisticated, albeit less friendly, people with their attendant problems. All of the while he must protect the Books of Knowledge until he finally discovers a way to make them useful to ‘save Alm’.
Discussion: The author has written a fantasy that will have a certain amount of appeal to readers who delight in pure fantasy. For those less ‘dedicated’ to the genre, the going might be a bit more difficult. The jump from most of the world seemingly being rather unsophisticated and under developed to one advanced ‘city state’ with all modern conveniences and even capability of setting off an atomic bomb, is quite a jolt. Especially when such development appears to coexist in a world with no evidence of any type of communication among its inhabitants. Additionally, although initially the book appears to tend toward young adult readers, the language denies such a target audience. With its wandering into depictions of the protectorate’s descent into ridiculous discussions and similar mention of other features evident in today’s way of life, it also brings allegory to mind, but again doesn’t follow through. Thus, one seems to be forced to settle for the aforementioned theme of pure fantasy. As an aside, the action and characters were presented in an uncomfortably ‘stilted’ manner.
Conclusion: Regrettably from this reader’s perspective, this is a tale more specifically for pure fantasy devotees who also are able to overlook several accompanying problems.
3* Perhaps 4* for those fantasy devotees described; 2* or less for others.
The Divinity Complex ISBN: 9781719490573, a psychological thriller an e-book published, copyright and written by P. H. Figur.
Plot: Fundamentally, the story is about a man, FBI Agent Drake Marino, who is plagued by a psychological problem that disrupts his entire life until ultimately he encounters a clinical psychologist who attempts to lead him back to the initiating factor to effect a release. The actual plot is a little difficult to follow. The tale begins with a couple who are being held at gun point stopping for gasoline. The man, while paying the in-store attendant is able to convey the fact to the attendant. Drake’s newly engaged love also is FBI and has just happened to have stopped at the same convenience store. The attendant had taken the couple’s license plate number which he gives to her. She calls in while following in the same direction as the departing couple and finds it along side of the road. She gets out to investigate, finds them dead, is accosted by the killer and also killed. Drake is devastated but continues to work with his twin brother Dominic, who is the lead investigator on the case of what is beginning to look like a serial killer. They continue to investigate further killings by this same person and he finally breaks down when more gruesomely staged victims are found. This is followed by his actual ‘freezing’ when a young woman whom he has established a somewhat empathetic relationship has her throat slit. His inability to act is the final straw. He gives up and disappears. Meanwhile the reader is introduced to the owner of a massive pharmaceutical corporation and his son. The company is immensely successful having developed a formula that successfully eradicates neurological disease. Now on top of the world money-wise the psychologically compromised owner strengthens his personal larger than God complex and decides he will find a drug that will rid mankind of negative behavior. To accomplish this, the company must establish an entire community with individuals who will volunteer but be completely controlled once they are within this town that is completely hidden in an otherwise deserted section of the country. The town is established and populated and eventually Drake reappears, as well as the serial killer, and most of the action is centered around the town and individuals associated in some way with it. Numerous characters enter and re-enter the plot through its rather convoluted course until the finale that presents some surprises.
Discussion: The author has based his story on an interesting concept. Unfortunately however, it is not a particularly easy book to read. Further editing of much of the repetitious material and banality would have been helpful as well as the number of characters introduced and their actions which made the plot difficult to follow at times. With respect to handling of specifics to provide authenticity to the story’s plot, the deceitful and treacherous activity portrayed within the FBI seems quite acceptable because of the stories that constantly beset today’s residents from various sources. However, the portrayal of the loose handling of drug experimentation and population assembly and control is difficult to accept, even though the value and use of ‘under-the-table’ money is wide spread. The immensity of such an operation is most difficult to envision even if one retains only minimal pragmatic thoughts. The possibility of such a huge endeavor remaining a secret is totally unimaginable. However, individuals who are able to accept all of these factors mentioned will find an interesting, action-packed psychological thriller. Regrettably, those who cannot will discover a tale quite difficult to enjoy.
3* 4* for certain type readers; 3* or less apropos the factors presented.